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Chinese8/5/2006English
經文:以賽亞書十三至十六章
鑰節:「……我怎樣定意,必照樣成就。」(14:24)
提要

        十三、十四章,以賽亞宣告上帝對巴比倫人的審判,首先預言巴比倫不久的將來,會成為當時最有力量的國家,征服亞述及附近其他國家,也包括猶大;上帝雖使用巴比倫人來處置祂的子民,實際上巴比倫是邪惡犯罪的,因此以賽亞亦預言,上帝的懲罰也要臨到他們。令人驚訝的是,以賽亞預言此事時,亞述是當時最強盛的國家,巴比倫和瑪代都很微弱不被人注意,但後來這兩國聯合形成一股強權,滅了亞述國(13:17)。

        以賽亞又準確的預言另一件更令人吃驚的事──上帝呼召瑪代人(13:3),並不是因他們敬虔或因他們是外邦人,只因上帝指定他們成為上帝的工具,去征服巴比倫(13:17),使得巴比倫去求助於鄰國的波斯。

        「主的日子」,也就是上帝審判的日子,美麗堅固的巴比倫城將永遠的毀滅,經歷上帝做在所多瑪、蛾摩拉城的憤怒(13:19,20),這預言約在二百年後,主前五三九年應驗,巴比倫城從七世紀始便無人居住,全被破壞;在末世論中,巴比倫此次的毀滅,象徵了巴比倫在末世同樣要被毀滅(啟14:8;17:5),末世來時會有一些自然現象發生為證,如眾星宿不發光,日頭一出就變黑暗,月亮也不發光等(13:10,13),到那日全地全人類都要在上帝的審判之下(13:11;太24:29)。

        上帝雖然不喜悅猶大人,而容讓巴比倫人來懲罰他們,但上帝對他們仍是慈愛,祂應該將帶領被擄的人歸回,使他們脫離愁苦、煩惱而得安息(14:3)。今日上帝也供應同樣靈堛漲w息和復興給那些信靠耶穌的人。

        猶太人被擄七十年後,上帝激動波斯王古列的心,使他下詔通知全國的猶太人,回到自己的地方,幫助他們並允諾他們帶著僕人同行(14:2;以斯拉1:1~4;2:1,64),當他們回去時將歡喜快樂的歌頌慶祝,而傲慢、邪惡的巴比倫王將衰亡(14:4~21)落入最深的陷阱中(指地獄,14:9~11,15),不僅巴比倫如此全地也將傾倒(14:4~21;啟18:20);巴比倫被擊倒,因他的驕傲,也因撒但邪惡的勢力一直在他之後(14:12~15)。

        上帝做在巴比倫身上的,也一樣做在亞述身上(14:24~27)。當非利士人看見壓迫他們的人沒落了,他們就歡喜,但以賽亞警告他們,將有更大更有能力的壓迫者巴比倫在亞述王之後興起,並帶來更大的毀滅,然而這一切實際都是上帝的作為(14:27)。

        十五、十六章,以賽亞悲嘆摩押的毀滅,因他們驕傲(16:6;耶48:11),在三年之內他們將被強大的亞述取代,但上帝允許少數的摩押人得以存活(16:14),原因可能有三:(1)他們是亞伯拉罕姪子羅得的後裔;(2)他們是路得的祖先,也就是耶穌的祖先(太1:5);(3)他們在大衛父母受難時,慷慨的接待他們(撒上22:3,4);為此上帝希望猶大將憐憫摩押的難民,像上帝憐憫他們一般(16:3~4)。耶穌的寶座要建立在慈愛、真理、公義的根基上(16:5),使從撒但手中逃向上帝的人,能從上帝得慈愛且尋得一個真正的避難所(耶48:47)。

禱告

        感謝上帝,藉耶穌建立了一個慈愛、真理、公義的寶座,感謝您的應許,使我們在您面前求慈愛並藏身於您,因您不拒絕來到您面前的人,奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Isaiah 13-16
Key Verse:"...I have purposed, so it shall stand."(Isaiah 14:24)
Overview

        The "burden" of divine judgment that Isaiah proclaimed in chapter 13 and 14 was to be borne by the Babylonians (the Chaldean empire), which later became the most powerful nation. They conquered Assyria and all other nations in the region, including the people of Judah, whom they carried away captive. Although God used them to bring His judgment upon His people, they were very wicked, and Babylon was the centre of evil. Therefore, Isaiah predicted the time of divine punishment against them as well. The amazing thing about this prophecy is that at the time of Isaiah's writing, the strongest nation was Assyria; Babylon was not yet a world power, nor were the Medes, whom Isaiah prophesied would overthrow Babylon (13:17); they were both weak and insignificant nations. The accuracy of Isaiah's prophecies is yet another amazing feature.

        The Lord calls the Medes "My sanctified ones... My mighty ones" (13:3), not because they were godly, for, they were heathens; but they are called so because God had consecrated and ordained them to be His instruments to overthrow Babylon (13:17), which they did with the aid of their neighbours, the Persians.

        "The day of the Lord" is the time of God's judgment, and here we read a graphic description of the events that will occur when Babylon would be overthrown. Yet there is an eschatological (end-times) element, in that the ancient fall of Babylon typifies the fall of the wicked latter-day Babylon (Rev. 14:8; 17:5). This is especially evident with regard to the phenomena of nature (13:10, 13). At that time, the whole world (all people) will come under God's judgment (13:11; cf. Matt. 24:29). Isaiah predicts the complete and permanent destruction of the beautiful, well fortified city of Babylon, which will experience the Lord's wrath, as did Sodom and Gomorrah (13:19-20). Isaiah's prophecy was literally fulfilled almost two hundred years later in 539 B.C., and since the seventh century A.D. the city has been uninhabited and left in ruins.

        In spite of God's displeasure with the people of Judah and their punishment in the Babylonian captivity, the Lord mercifully promised to bring them back from exile and give them rest from sorrow, fear, and bondage (14:3). The Lord provides the same today with the spiritual rest and restoration that is available to all whose souls have been saved through faith in Jesus.

        Isaiah's prophecy (14:1) was literally fulfilled, for after seventy years of captivity in Babylon, God moved upon the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia, who permitted, and even aided, in the return of the people of Judah to their land, taking with them many servants (14:2; likely conquered and subjected Babylonians, cf. Ezra 1:1-4; 2:1, 64). Isaiah predicts that they will joyously sing a song of celebration about the fall of the wicked king of Babylon, who not only oppressed them but the whole earth as well (14:4-21; cf. Rev. 18:20).

        Isaiah illustrates well the result of the haughtiness of the king of Babylon — he died and went to the lowest depths of the pit (hell, 14:9-11,15). He was thrown down because of his pride, like his father Satan, whom Isaiah describes, since Lucifer was the power behind the king of Babylon (14:12-15). Whatever the Lord purposes will happen, just as He purposed and accomplished the fall of the king of Assyria (14:24-27). When the Philistines saw the downfall of this oppressor, they rejoiced; but Isaiah warns that a greater and more powerful oppressor (Babylon) will arise after the fall of the king of Assyria, and he will bring about their destruction, which will actually be the Lord's doing, since His hand will be stretched out to judge (14:27).

        Chapters 15 and 16 deal with Isaiah's lament over the destruction of Moab, which would happen because of their pride (16:6; Jer. 48:11). It would happen within three years of his oracle and be carried out by the large Assyrian nation. The Lord, however, would allow a small and weak remnant of Moabites to remain (16:14), possibly because (1) they were the ancestors of Lot, Abraham's nephew (Gen. 19:37), (2) they were the people of Ruth, Jesus' ancestor (Matt. 1:5), and (3) they had received David's parents with kindness when they were refugees (1 Sam. 22:3,4). The Lord would desire Judah to show mercy to the Moabite refugees (16:3-4) just as God had shown mercy to them. The throne of David upon which the Messiah Jesus will reign will be established in mercy, truth, justice, and righteousness (16:5). All those who flee to the Lord can be sure that they will be met with His mercy and find a safe place of refuge from the spoiler, extortioner, and oppressor, Satan (Jer. 48:47).

Prayer

        Thank You Lord Cod that the throne established by Messiah Jesus is established in mercy, truth, justice, and righteousness. We come to You asking for mercy and refuge. Thank You also that You promised that You would not turn away those who came to You. Amen.


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